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High Concept Ideas: Cool? or Not Worth It.

Hi Everyone!

Wow. It’s been a while. I sure hope you are all doing well! I’m knee-deep in NaNo Feva. So far it’s going really well. I just made it over 21K! AND with the help of my uber-awesome CP, Brenda Drake I finally know where this story is going. BONUS!

When plotting for said NaNo idea I started to think about High Concept ideas/premises since my current NaNo and my last year’s NaNo are those types of ideas.

So what is a high concept idea?

Wiki says:
High concept narratives are typically characterized by an over-arching “what if?” scenario that acts as a catalyst for the following events. Often, the most popular summer blockbuster movies are built on a high concept idea, such as “what if we could clone dinosaurs?” (Jurassic Park), and so on. 


Side note: I love INCEPTION. Still. Yes, I know it’s old news, but talk about high concept. Damn.


Personally, I’m drawn to writing these ideas. There’s something about taking that what-if scenario and putting your own spin to it. High concept premises make me think, they challenge my beliefs and what I perceive to be true. I have to admit I’m drawn to reading these types of books, too.


That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy non high-concept books. I LOVE a good contemporary. In fact, many of my favorite books are contemporary romance (Anna and the French Kiss, anyone?). A well-executed idea sells me every time — high concept or not. That, and hot boys. LOL 


Although, high concept ideas are big and exciting, done poorly they can be a nightmare. I’ve found (in my limited vision of what this is) that a CRAP-TON of research needs to be done in these books. In order to build a new idea/premise or spin-off one, you need to know what you’re talking about. You can make up everything you want, but it needs to be believable. There’s nothing worse than a high concept idea that fails to execute. What a waste.


Also, there is usually a lot of world-building and action and twists. Not the easiest thing to come up with, but really the only limitation is your imagination.


So, what can stimulate these ideas?


Watch Documentaries – science, history whatever works. You’d be amazed how much you can pick up. Both my NaNo’s have come from documentaries. Yeah, for real.


Google the Idea – I usually come up with others from that. For example, if you’re writing about something having to do with space. You google space, and you find out there’s a moon by Saturn that has characteristics of Earth, or did at some point… hmmm. What if? 


Ask Your Friends or Strangers – No, really. My husband knows a lot (too much most of the time, if you know what I mean… LOL) he watches and reads about some interesting stuff. ALSO, last night I was working at a women’s expo for work and got in a conversation with a cinematographer about stem cells. I learned a lot. Who knew?


Read Books About the Subject You’re Researching – There is always someone who has written some version of your high concept idea. It may not be the exact idea, but rest assured, the world is big and the odds that no one else has written it, is as slim as a hollywood actress.


What do you think of high concepts? Do you write them yourself? Do you like reading them?


Have a great week!!!!


<3 Er

13 Responses to “High Concept Ideas: Cool? or Not Worth It.”

  1. Heather says:

    I love high concept stories, they’re my favorite kind, both to write and to read. Best of luck on your NaNo project!

  2. Thank you!! I agree, they are the best ;o)

  3. Hands down. They’re my favorite. Not many women authors delve into it fictionwise, outside of some Japanese authors I’ve read. I think its high time! You write it. I’ll line up to read it.

  4. I love high concept and I may attempt to write one, one day, but for now, I’m sticking to my sexy tales and my werewolves. LOL But I’m with Hannah, you write and I will read it.

  5. LOL, thanks, guys!! I agree ;o)

  6. I love high concept. I have written high concept, but I can’t say that I have done so successfully. I kind of just did it for fun and need to go back and put the work into it. You’ve inspired me to get to it! Good luck with NaNo.

  7. xoxo says:

    Firstly, INCEPTION! Best. Movie. Ever!
    It’s not debatable.
    Secondly, NaNo that’s some hard stuff right? I’m doing it this year and it’s so hard.
    I also picked a high concept idea to write about it’s coming across rather well. Actually, I’ve yet to not write a high concept book.
    Xoxo

  8. Yay! I love seeing other writer’s who write high concept!! Yes, Inception #win

  9. It’s a great premise and I can’t wait to read it! <3

  10. Dude. “There’s nothing worse than a high concept idea that fails to execute. What a waste.” YES.

    A lot of us can think of really big ideas, you know? But I think what sets the power writers apart is their ability to make it work, to execute it in a believable, unpredictable, kickass way. Inception is one of those. It’s truly mind-blowing.

    Also, I rely on my hubs a lot for ideas. He watches way too much Discovery, and I take advantage. 😛

  11. Thanks, B!

    Totally agree, Carol!!!

  12. I’m a high concept whore. There, I said it. Judge me if you must.

  13. I am too, Lila. This is a no judgement zone ;o)

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